Stretching along the oceanfront in Long Branch, New Jersey, is a new luxury playground for locals and celebrities alike. Pier Village, a $400 million mixed-use community by Ironstate Development, is a massive reclamation project for the real-estate-development firm, and it features 536 luxury rental residences plus a boutique hotel, the Bungalow Hotel, which has a playful beach-chic interior and 24 guest rooms. Ironstate principal Michael Barry shared with gb&d his thoughts on the significance and the challenges of going green in the hospitality market.
gb&d: Can you explain how Pier Village works as a massive reclamation project and as part of an urban-revitalization project?
Michael Barry: The single most important feature in a sustainable project is site selection. This project has many of the desirable features, which include location within a half mile of rail transportation, access to bus routes and public transportation, walkable streets, amenities, existing infrastructure, an existing urban setting, and a need for revitalization.
gb&d: How does this development combat unnecessary sprawl?
MB: Density and location. This project takes advantage of an existing developed piece of property with low-density housing and introduces vertical construction in an established neighborhood.
gb&d: Talk about the difficulties of obtaining LEED certification for hospitality design. Why does LEED not always come into play with these types of projects?
MB: Building LEED sometimes means you need to make changes from the norm. Getting guests comfortable with some of the operational aspects of LEED can be challenging. Asking guests to change their habits can sometimes be daunting. But we feel that the general sentiment, as in our residential product, is that green is beneficial and the way of the future.
gb&d: Can you talk about the sustainability goals behind the Pier Village development?
MB: As an owner and operator of apartments, not only in Long Branch but across the state of New Jersey, we recognize the need and value of creating sustainable buildings and projects. Our clientele is very sophisticated and values the benefits of living in green environments. So for us it’s very important to address these concerns to be competitive in the marketplace.
At the Bungalow Hotel in Pier Village, one of the most important strategies was energy efficiency. A number of measures were implemented for the Bungalow, which started with the HVAC system, which utilizes a ductless split system with incredibly high efficiency ratings, environmentally neutral refrigerants, high operator control, and seamless integration with the design. The hotel units also incorporate large areas of glass for daylighting, virtually eliminating the need for artificial lights during the daytime. In the Pier Village residential buildings, we are examining modifying the light fixtures in the garage and common areas and exploring the use of LED lighting and motion sensors. We are also working on a company-wide plan to reduce water-bottle usage by providing tenants with in-faucet water filtration.
gb&d: Were there any challenges encountered with the development when it came time to begin the actual construction?
MB: Construction has actually gone relatively smoothly. Surprisingly, one of the biggest challenges was the hundreds of people who pass by the Pier Village site daily. We created a fenced-in path along the edge of the boardwalk to create a safe zone for the pedestrians, joggers, and cyclists.
gb&d: Can you describe some of the unique elements of the Bungalow Hotel’s “modern-vintage” interior, created by Sixx Design?
MB: Sixx Design owners Bob and Cortney Novogratz did a wonderful job designing the interiors for this space. They were able to fuse the artwork of a number of very talented artists to create this beach-chic, eclectic design. You can see the detail in the book selections and individual artwork in the guest rooms—or in the rooster-feather chandeliers lighting the entry hall. Bob and Cortney obtained countless antiques and novel memorabilia that grace the lobby shelving. Combining these elements so effortlessly allows the space to feel refined but grounded. This is definitely a space worth visiting to have a drink or lunch with friends or family.